A while ago I had a parent ask me for some discipline ideas. Her daughter got in trouble at school for fighting to be the line leader. Evidently she had pushed a classmate out of the way in order to be first. The mother told me she had her daughter apologize to the teacher, but wanted her daughter to have to do something else as well. I suggested that the mother have her daughter write an apology letter to her classmate and maybe make a little gift to give as well. The mother thought this sounded like a good idea and decided to give it a try.
The next time I saw them, the mother told me that they tried it. Her daughter wrote the letter and was waiting for the first chance to give it to her classmate. The mother thanked me again for the idea and said it seemed to work well. I share this story because I think that this “punishment” can be effective in a number of circumstances. Let me explain: Continue reading
It is a wonderful thing to watch the Body of Christ at work serving and loving in numerous and unique ways. No act of love, no service, is worthless. I’ve seen Jesus in people serving meals, in those who sign for those who are deaf. I’ve seen Him in people feeding those who cannot feed themselves and welcoming people different than themselves. I’ve seen Jesus in those who clothe the naked, and those who change diapers in the nursery. I’ve seen Jesus in people leading crafts and teaching music.
Each of us , who are in Christ, has a gift with which to love others. When we love others with the power of the Spirit, Jesus is evident. I believe that our Lord is delighted when He sees His children loving each other and others with His love. Dear follower of Christ, love with the gifts God has given you. Minister to others through the talents you possess. Shine the light of Jesus wherever you are. May others see Him in you and may we see His presence in each other!
When we think of “ministry”, how often do we automatically think of the ministries commonly found in our churches (Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Adult Ministry, etc)? Perhaps we think this way more often than we care to admit. Even if we acknowledge other types of “ministry”, do we consider them all of equal importance? Do we view “ministry” as something that only happens within the church or the walls of the church building? Do we view “ministry” as something that has to be initiated through the institution of the church or as a church outreach?
If this is the case, our view of ministry is too narrow. After all, what is “ministry” anyway? What makes a “ministry” truly ministry? Minstering to others is part of what it means to be a follower of Christ. We minister to others as we serve them in love, as we love them with the love of Christ. Service as modeled by our Lord is to put the needs of others first and seek their best. All ministry is important, no matter who is the recipient or what the ministry is.
Ministry to children in a church is important, just as it is important to minister by encouraging friends, family, and anyone you meet over the course of the day. May we all strive to minister to and bless those whose paths we cross. Never underestimate the power of an encouraging and kind word.
All ministry boils down to the two greatest commandments—loving God and loving others. Let us love well as we minister to others. Let us love with the love of God, seeking to bring Him glory through our service.
This devotion comes from Judges 6-8 (6:1-16; 7:9-21)
Gideon Leads God’s People
When Gideon is called to lead the people of Israel he is hiding and scared—threshing wheat in a winepress! This is not our picture of a “mighty man of valor” as the angel calls him. Gideon even considers himself the least in his father’s house. Yet the angel of the LORD still commands Gideon to go save Israel, saying to Gideon’s objections, “But I will be with you”.
God often calls people we would not expect to do amazing things. We may be nothing of ourselves, but when God call us to a task He enables us to fulfill that through His power! With Gideon, God took a once scared man and made him into a warrior and leader.
By the power of God, Gideon and 300 men defeated thee Midianite army. If it were not through God’s command and His power, Gideon and his forces would have been easily destroyed. When we do the things God calls us to do, and we do so through the power of God, even the smallest things can become big things. Numbers matter little when God is in control! 301 men, with God’s help, routed an army of over 120,000! God can take us and show His greatness through our weakness. He can take our fears, and transform us into His bold servants.
Gideon served his community by doing what God called him to do, even though he was afraid. God can use any of us too, even if we’re afraid!
Jesus and Zacchaeus:
Zacchaeus eagerly wanted to see this man Jesus and he found a way to see Him. Zacchaeus found a way around his problems to see the Lord. When Jesus stopped to invite Himself over to Zacchaeus’ house, Zacchaeus didn’t hesitate, but received Jesus with joy! I am humbled by Zacchaeus’ eager excitement to see and host the Lord. He was determined to see Jesus, but Jesus was determined to spend time with Zacchaeus—and to know him.
Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus changed his life radically. AS a tax collector, Zacchaeus was considered one of the “worst sinners”. He defrauded his own people taking more money than necessary for their taxes and making himself rich in the process. Yet, after encountering Jesus, Zacchaeus went from taking from his community to giving back to his community! Zacchaeus not only made things right with those he stole from, but also gave half of his possessions to the poor.
Zacchaeus’ radical turn around stands as a challenge to us—not only to make right the wrongs we’ve done to others around us, but to give of what we have to meet the needs of others in our community.